Posted Friday February 08 2019 at 5:43 pm
Think-Create-Learn: Making Art Mindfully
I am a visual designer and artist. Increasingly, my practice, especially my socially engaged arts projects, include both visuals, audio, and text.
Think-Create-Learn, that is my mantra. Professor David Perkins, with whom I studied and worked writes, "Learning is a consequence of thinking." My research shows that the process of learning skills that require the engagement of the body and senses is indeed thinking in action. When we make art, we think and learn in real time. This is the theory that underlies the often used phrase in education - "learning by doing". For example, students who are engaged in a drawing and coloring/painting activity are developing their aesthetic sense, thinking and communicating visually, learning about a topic as in the owl and fish images below, as well as practicing manual skills using drawing and coloring/painting tools. All this is happening in real time as they are engaged in the activity.
Drawings for owl study by a kindergartner at Everett Elementary School, Boston.
Painting for study of fish in their habitat by a kindergartner at Everett Elementary School, Boston.
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Posted Monday January 14 2019 at 1:02 pm
In my instrumental and vocal classes besides learning the rudiments of music, performance craft and creativity, my students learn about collaborating and working together while being part of an ensemble. This training allows them the opportunity for self-expression, for developing confidence, responsibility, punctuality, self-awareness, discipline, communication skills, compassion, trust, autonomy, leadership, and time management. Each one of these skills is stressed in my classes from day one. Other benefits that my students receive are the opportunity to work outside of their comfort zone, which encourages them to think outside the box.
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Posted Wednesday December 05 2018 at 8:06 pm
On Oct. 26-29, I attended the North American Drama Therapy Association Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. As conferences are built to do, it inspired me in several professional and personal directions. The hardest part was deciding what tool and trick I wanted to try first!
Drama therapy is an embodied approach to therapy that uses play, projection, narrative, and the power of an audience to help people. It's practiced in adaptable formats with patients of all ages and abilities in schools, recovery hospitals, trauma centers, community and group homes, private practice, and beyond.
As a VSA teaching artist, I was keenly interested in sessions that illuminated school-based or classroom-friendly approaches that could help students with physical, intellectual, and emotional needs. Among the many sessions I attended while there, I learned about:
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● puppet work in El Salvador with women and teens about domestic violence and sex education,
● Sesame Street communities producing trauma-informed support materials and help children process big emotions,
● developing plays that educate audiences and demonstrate the strengths and capabilities of diverse and inclusive casts,
● using humor in creating therapeutic performances,
● new games for encouraging relationship development and conversation among participants,
● culturally inclusive and radically sensitive interactions in and out of therapeutic practice, and
● autobiographical play writing/processing.